What gifts are you grateful for this day? Are you able to acknowledge whatever has been brought to your door, be it sorrow or joy? Do you shut your heart to love, or open it fully with compassion to all? This can be difficult, especially when we consider opening our heart with love and compassion to those that we do not agree with in terms of their values, or lifestyle. Personally, I struggle with this one a lot! Today in the United States we are to honor those that gave their lives up to the war machine. This can be a difficult aspect to consider staying open to when we do not believe in war, which may result in judgment as well as conflicting emotions being wagged in the heart.
What one simple thing can you do today to let go of some of this judgment you might be holding onto to allow for more love to enter into your heart? Silence and meditation are wonderful ways to get in touch with your inner self and to begin to make small steps toward this place of non-judgment. Immersion into the depths of the silence of your own soul will surprisingly show you the path, and as we already intuitively know it is usually the one of least resistance.
Yesterday while on a mountain hike with friends we somehow missed the trailhead coming down. This was altogether easy to miss since at the top it was snow-covered and we were chatting rather than paying attention to our surroundings. What is worse is that there was a group that had descended before us and we began to follow their footsteps once we realized we had missed our own trail. This was silly for any number of reasons, not the least of which was they had communicated to us at the top that they had approached the summit from a different trailhead in a completely different direction than we had. At some point fairly close to the top, I knew we should retrace our steps to the top and proceed from there. None of us really wanted to as we had climbed the trail fast and furious on our ascent and were joyfully looking forward to descending, not go back up to the top again. This was a mistake, and as we proceeded down we kept going and also lost the other group’s tracks entirely. We kept this up until it was impossible to return to the top. We pushed through deep snow, climbed over many trees, and had tress falling down on us whose roots had been softened over the winter by the magical work of the snow. We trekked and trekked with me at the forefront until I looked up and saw the sky darkening with thunderstorms. In that moment I knew we had to be off of that mountain quickly. As I became quiet and stopped to rest my mind, I also spied a small stream, one that we logically decided to follow given we knew it would follow the path of least resistance. This was the best plan and we successfully walked out into a glorious field of tall grass, only to find we had no idea where we were. We kept walking until we spied a house, all the while the skies continued to darken around us. Luckily for us the first house we went to had someone home. This wonderful man, whose name was Brady, gave three of us and the dog a ride back close to our vehicle, which we had left at the original trailhead. As a side note, at the beginning of our hike we went into an area that was closed to all traffic, but someone was out and had moved the signs and as we talked to them they appeared to be in charge and allowed us to move on through. Wrong! They were in charge of nothing, and as we ran and walked the last mile plus down that road with the skies fiercely rumbling now, we were only too thrilled to spy our vehicle, however, we were greeted with one more reminder to stay present, a National Forest Service ticket on the window warning us not to be in the area, it was closed. Luckily for us it was only a warning. We had made it safely back to the car and just as we closed the doors the rain began to pound down all around us.
What could we have down to have made all of this easier? We could have been more mindful at the top when we began our descent. We could have gone inside and used our intuition, which to be honest at some point in the bushwhacking coming down I fully believe we did when we paused to listen and found the small stream which we then followed. This could have all turned out so very differently, but we were blessed in that moment when we found our inner space and listened. Where we lost our way was in the moments when we were no longer being mindful.
Hiking is simply a metaphor of life, one needs to pay attention wherever they are to their inner voice and be quiet, ushering in compassion and non-judgment for all, including the war machine we are to celebrate on this Memorial Day. We can simply turn inside and choose to honor those who surely must have also been loving human beings even if they were lost for a moment inside of the machine. What is clear is that we all get lost for moments and can easily take the wrong path.
Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom. ~ Buddha